A Call to China
Available in print and e-book everywhere
Temples, incense, caves, mountains, the Buddha and the Dao on one side; on the other, missionary compounds, university, divorce, death, Jesus and Socrates. Jeffrey Meyer's poetic and sharp prose explores both worlds and leaves readers with a tale that is moving and unforgettable, a tale of familial and spiritual love that transcends all cultures.
-Dr. Chris Brawley, author of Nature and the Numinous in Mythopoeic Fantasy Literature
This is a journey far and beyond, but even more so, it is a journey into the heart.
-Christopher Radko, author and holiday designer
What people are saying . . .
I highly recommend this remarkable work of imagination, empathy and storytelling to anyone who wants a fast-paced plot and deep, insightful background that teaches us much about China's spiritual life. Meyer convincingly creates multiple worlds—of pre-war China, missionaries, Japanese detention camps, postwar America, and reform-era China—that are rich and imaginative. Built around two strong women, the novel immerses us in Chinese and Christian religious communities, showcasing the author's deep knowledge of China, religion and faith. Holding it all together is a riveting plot—a kidnapping whose effects span decades and continents.
-Ian Johnson, Pulitzer-Prize winning writer covering China for Baltimore's The Sun and The Wall Street Journal, and author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao
Jeffrey Meyer paints with a broad brush on a big canvas, and he does so assuredly and beautifully. We come away from A Call to China with a sense of having had a reliable guide, one who shows us a slice of life in China (as well as the U.S.) in the middle decades of the 20th century. When Livia experiences the food markets of Guangzhou, we share with her the exposure to that which is intriguing, but also to "dark and shriveled items whose identity she didn't care to know." When Bu'er finds her voice as a leader of the FourOnes, we believe her when she says, "You look at a bird egg and you see a vessel more perfect than the finest Song Dynasty porcelain. What I see most clearly, among all living things, is an order and a pattern." What students of religion will find in A Call to China are rich layers, thick descriptions of traditions and practices: Buddhist sanghas, Taoist teachings, Confucian virtues. It's a well told tale of two sisters. It's also a peek behind the curtain for those of us who feel that 20th-century China is impenetrable, shrouded in mystery. And no one will forget the story of Long Nail!
-Celia Brewer Sinclair
Senior Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, UNC Charlotte
Jeffrey F. Meyer presents an interesting blend of West meets East, as generations of the traditional familial unit transition from tragedy to fulfillment. A study of family, coming of age and religion/spirituality, A Call to China evokes a sense of exploration fictionally reminiscent of Chang’s Wild Swans. A Call to China leads the reader into deep reflection about family, destiny and the search for an appreciation of self amid the hypocrisy and incongruity of the times. The real tragic history of 20th-century China and the Cultural Revolution is brought back to life as the Waymans attempt to find their individual sacred place, seeking immortality and wisdom in their own distinct fashion. By providing compelling characters, a driving rhythm and a rich plot, Meyer produces an intriguing tale of humanity struggling to recover its indigenous allegiance to one’s own faith as each sees appropriate. “The color of the cat doesn’t matter, black or white, as long as it can catch the mouse.”
-Lisa Aquilina, J.D., LL.M, publisher, author, and Arizona Authors’ Association president